This week I’ve been listening to a series of talks by Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now and A New Earth. And the most noticeable impact has been increased productivity in my work, and greater acceptance of my daily ills. So who is Eckhart Tolle?
He’s a diminutive little fellow who on first glance is quite unimpressive, and whose voice can sometimes border on the tedious. This only accentuates the power of the message, which in its essence is very simple: acceptance of what is. Instead of reacting to the events and trials of life, instead of living in the past or the future, direct your attention squarely on the here and now. Somehow Tolle managed to squeeze the essence of traditions dating back thousands of years into a very simple and profound teaching.
As a result, Eckhart Tolle is one of the world’s most popular spiritual teachers. And yet he has slipped under the guru status due to his stature and message. This is due to the fact that there is really nothing to believe here – beliefs are discouraged as ‘mental forms’ that obscure the pure essence of life. There really is nothing to refute here, because there is no religion and no gods. Eckhart does occasionally use the concept of ‘God’, but only as a reference to the nature of existence as one in being.
Theology, philosophy, and even spirituality tend to get one caught up in an endless loop of arguments and thoughts about the nature of reality. What we really need today is a practical spirituality that cuts through all this and brings one with direct contact with life at every moment. Tolle refers to the ability to take life as it is no matter what is offered as being ‘grounded in presence’. At the same time, he sees all words as merely pointers to a reality that is beyond thought.
It was through reading his books that I got to the point of having nothing more to say in this blog. Unfortunately, I had turned the message into my own form of spiritual belief system, even using the term ‘beyondform’ as my username, given that Tolle uses it frequently in his writing. I held on to the concept as I have long had misgivings about my body, the ‘form’ that I live within, and took the idea as a reaction to rejection – in other words, a form of spiritual pride. While the message altered my perception of life, it did little to change my approach – I still lived under the delusion of fear.
Fortunately, now that I have begun to live in a state of mindfulness and acceptance, concepts which are becoming huge in the world of psychology, I see that all my suffering, all my ‘mental noise’, can actually serve me in being grounded in the here and now.